Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Africans are seizing the future and Israel wants to seize this future with Africa. He says Israel wants to help make Africa’s soil become more fertile, its water reusable, cities safer and air cleaner based on a foundation being laid today that could last for decades in the future.
Addressing the 51st Summit of regional bloc ECOWAS ahead of outgoing chairperson Mrs. Ellen Johnson – Sirleaf’s turning power over to her Togolese counterpart on Sunday, 4 June, Netanyahu told the bloc’leaders that the benefits that Israel gives to Russia, China and America are the benefits that it wants to give to the people of
Prime Minister Netanyahu says his coming here as first sitting Israeli PM in many decades is an expression of a simple truth that Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is coming back to Israel.
“I believe in Africa; I believe in Africa, I believe in its potential– present and future. It’s a continent on the rise, its people are diverse in politics”, he says.
He argues that Africans truly have no better partner in seizing their future than Israel because his country is the world’s leader in technology in all areas including the fields of energy, agriculture, public health, water creation and in the vital area of security.
“Our intelligence has helped stopped terror attacks, dozens and dozens of terror attacks all across the world including in Africa”, he says, adding this is why the leaders of many countries have even come to just visit Israel.
“It’s the use of technology that allows you to leap over generations; this is the leap that Israel can and wants to do with you”, Mr. Netanyahu tells ECOWAS leaders at the regional bloc’s 51st Summit the Farmington Hotel near Roberts International Airport or RIA in Margibi County.
Mr. Netanyahu says today Israel seeks to share its experience with the governments and peoples of Africa, while recognizing that ECOWAS’s mission is to increase peace and prosperity by harnessing Africa’s vast resources.
Mr. Netanyahu says when he landed here; he saw the cloud of terrorism hanging over this “glorious village,” an act (terrorism) which has claimed the lives of so many innocent Africans, most recently in Niger and Mali, as well as in London, outside Africa.
He has condemned the incidents and extended Israel’s condolences to the British people, while pledging the Israeli State’s commitment to the fight against the menace.
“These terrorists worship death. They murder indiscriminately, but they will not frighten us”, Mr. Netanyahu says, adding that “they will not terrorize us. They will only harden our resolves to defeat them”.
He says together here in Africa, the Middle East, “we will defeat” terrorists, though he makes it clear that Israel’s goal here is not mainly to join forces to fight , but to work together to advance the goal.
According to Mr. Netanyahu, many Arab countries in Middle East today do not see Israel as enemy, and also asked African countries to reject what he calls “anti-Israel” [sentiments] of the UN.
Mr. Netanyahu recalls that Africa and Israel share in many ways, similar history. He noted thatthe continent is still fighting to get out of the past into the future, though it won its independence with determination. Similarly, he says, Israel was denied way too long and suffered the indignity of slavery and disposition and experienced unimaginable horrors, but “never give up” in fighting in winning its independence.
He concludes that Israel has established a thriving democracy in the heart of the Middle East and developed one of the world’s most dynamic economies and became world leader in agriculture, water, technology, communication, security and much more.
Earlier, Mrs. Sirleaf said the meeting in Liberia marked a turningpoint in post – conflict recovery and reconstruction of Liberia,recalling the pivotal role of ECOWAS in the resurrection of peacefollowing the protracted civil crisis here.
She recognized the ultimate sacrifice of many ECOWAS citizens withtheir lives for the uninterrupted peace Liberia enjoys today. She also noted that the organization continues its mission through the promotion ofpeace even as it faces challenges amidst the spread of terrorism.
Mrs. Sirleaf says terrorism attacks are engendering instability in anumber of the ECOWAS member states, pointing out that terrorism constitutesa growing threat “for all of us’. She cites the most recentmanifestation of the menace against Niger resulting inthe loss of lives.
Madam Sirleaf who later on Sunday turned over the chairmanship ofECOWAS Heads of Government and Authority, has urged member states towork across borders to end the terrorism threat.
She gave her success story in promoting peace as ECOWAS chair, citingpeaceful transitions of governments including Ghana, the Gambiaand othercountries.
Also speaking earlier, ECOWAS Commission President Mr. Marcel A. De Souza said President Sirleaf has represented West Africa in the most worthy manner and demonstrated remarkable strength and courage in the fulfillment of her responsibilities.
“You have guided the region and your influence reaches beyond our Community, through the social, political and economic challenges we face, including the end of Ebola epidemic which was recognized as a global threat” Mr. Souza says.
By Winston W. parley-Edited by Othello B. Garblah